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Not too young for life

Not too young for life

When she entered the room, internationally acclaimed Filipino singer, Charice Pempengco, had the bearing of a veteran disguised in the clothes of a little girl. Her steps were loosely measured, her arms swung modestly by her side and her face bore the countenance of someone who no longer needs to prove her worth. But in the narrow hall that led to her private room, as cameras began flashing from every corner, one could not miss a fleeting look of awe the took over her face; a quick reminder that she is still just a 16-year-old girl.

“Do I still look young?” she said during her interview with The Manila Times. “I already look old.” Even as she joked, she possessed a distinct degree of maturity—laughing in such a collected manner. And the dauntless modulation of her voice is a testament to her calm confidence. “But I do like what a lot of people say,” she added. “Young but with a big voice! Natutuwa naman ako dun.” “That makes me glad.”

Of course, since her meteoric rise back in 2007, being hailed as a vocal powerhouse is merely a pat on the back compared with the inspiring monikers she received over the years. After gaining international fame when one of her earlier admirers posted her performance videos on YouTube, she has been labeled as an “Internet sensation.” After crossing oceans to captivate the likes of TV personality Ellen DeGeneres, she has been called “a phenomenon.” And after she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, after she made such an impact that Winfrey herself was compelled to call legendary producer David Foster, Pempengco was dubbed as “the most talented girl in the world.” The later, however, is a title she casually refuted with sophistication.

“I’m not really that good, said Pempengco who smiled as though she was offering an apology. “I’m a singer and I know how to sing. People say that I’m good. But I’m not a professional singer like Regine Velasquez or Celine Dion. I just love to perform. I just love to sing.”

An early beginning

Pempengco was born on May 10, 1992, in the city of Cabuyao, Laguna. At the age of 3, she was shrugged out of innocence when her father, enraged and seemingly inconsolable, attacked her mother, Raquel. According to Pempengco, as reported by the website of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she watched her father beating and choking her mother. When the argument escalated, he then grabbed a shotgun and threatened their lives.

“My dad was about to shoot my mom,” she said “and I couldn’t do anything.”

Fortunately, their neighbors heard the commotion and were able to break down the door giving Pempengco, her brother, Carl, and her mother a chance to escape.

“We left my dad,” she stated on the website. “And after that, I never saw him again. And I don’t want to see him.”

But the arduous trials of her childhood did not stop there as financial problems followed Pempengco and her family. As reported by The National in an article entitled “Voice of the Future,” her mother could remember times when she had to feed Pempengco and her brother noodles three times a day before she found work.

A silver lining, however, appeared for their family when, at the age of four, Pempengco’s mother discovered her daughter’s gift for the very first time. “She thought the radio [was] playing,” Pempengco shared on the Oprah website. “She went to the living room, and she saw me singing and she was, like, ‘Oh, my gosh. She’s singing.”

The first time Pempengco decided to enter competitions, her mother was already working for 16 hours a day, six days a week at a garment factory. After years of financial woes, Pempengco had to help out her family by signing up for more than 80 competitions which included the likes of town fiestas and several vocal contests on TV. Eventually, she was able to use her contest winnings to help her mother pay for an apartment.

“I’m just singing for my mom now,” she stated on the Oprah website, “I didn’t help her before. That’s why I want to help her now.”

Even then, with those simple words, she already possessed the maturity that shrouds her tender age; an iron padding that would ultimately allow her to weather events that came after.

The wildcard

In 2005, at the age of 12, Pempengco joined an ABS-CBN talent show called Little Big Star. While she was eliminated at the early going, she was brought back as a wildcard contender and she was able to work her way to become a finalist. But regardless of her penchant for being a consistent top scorer, she only finished in third place with eventual ABS-CBN talent, Sam Concepcion taking the win.

After minor appearances on the local TV shows and commercials, she fell back into obscurity for a couple of years with a hard earned lesson that she carries up to this day.

“When I lost at The Little Big Star, that’s when I felt that I still need to persevere if I am to get what I want. The problem with some people is that when they want something, they want it now. They immediately want to be on top. But in reality, they have to go through a lot of things to get there. They have to be patient enough to try and try until they succeed,” she says.

And two years appeared enough of a waiting period for Pempengco when an avid fan, Dave Duenas, under the name FalseVoice, started posting her videos on YouTube.

According to an interview by Phil Bolsta in, Duenas got the idea to post Pempengco’s video in 2006 when he noticed a video in YouTube’s “Most Viewed” section. The video was the America’s Got Talent audition of an 11-year-old singer named Bianca Ryan.

“I didn’t plan to upload Charice’s videos on YouTube,” Duenas told Bolsta. “It’s just that I saw Bianca Ryan’s video after she had just won America’s Got Talent. I was fairly new to YouTube back then and I told myself, I’d like to post an amazing video that would generate a lot of hits . . . Charice’s name popped into my head because I got goose bumps all over my body when I first saw her singing on TV. So in August 2006 I posted a video of her singing I Will Always Love You from Little Big Star.”

The video, however, was not an overnight sensation. Duenas had to invest a measure of effort to build awareness of it.

“I remember posting comments to every video that I viewed, telling people to go check out Charice’s video,” Duenas told Bolsta. “It took some time, but eventually the video generated a lot of hits.”

But even after garnering a millions views, it wasn’t initially enough to re-open the doors for Pempengco’s career. Given her youth and the power of her voice, her talents came under intense scrutiny with a number of YouTube users claiming that she is lip-syncing. Such suspicions however were negated when Duenas posted more videos including an a capella rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”

Eventually, the videos attracted the attention of Ellen DeGeneres’ producers which ended up with her performing live in December 2007. This was followed by an appearance on Oprah as part of the show’s “World’s Most Talented Kids” series which ultimately allowed her not just to slip back into the lime light, but to burst into it at a global scale.

“I first started to feel that I’m really getting to live my dream when I was invited to Korea,” she shared with The Times. A slight sparkle drew out the youth from her softened eyes. “As it went on, I felt it even more. Of course, there have been a lot of highlights. But right now, I have to say that the one that tops all those highlights is the time when I got to sing on stage with Celine Dion.”

Pempengco recalled how she anxiously entered the Madison Square Garden. The raucous of thousands screaming for someone, she remembered, were enough to belittle anyone. But she was completely disarmed when she found out that they were screaming for her, and it was her face that was shown on the big screen.

“They’re foreigners!” she told The Times. “Those were my first thoughts. They were foreigners and they were cheering for me. And I was introduced as a Filipina. That really made me happy.”

Besides Dion, Pempengco also got the opportunity to sing with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who gave her another title by dubbing her as a “flush force of nature.” She also got to perform with current hit makers like the Jonas Brothers, Josh Groban, and former American Idol runner-up Katherine McPhee. More importantly, her performance back in 2008 at David Foster’s tribute concert, Hitman: David Foster and Friends at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, bought over 10,000 people to their feet leading Foster to proclaim that “a star is born.”

On to a bigger stage

Now on the process of making her first international album, Pempengco has been taken under Foster’s wing. When asked what it was like to be working with the renowned “star-maker,” she simply grinned as if once again hearing the name of a very close friend.

“David Foster . . . is Daddy,” she said. “We kid around a lot. He asked me what I thought about him and I told him that he’s like a father to me.”

Foster who is known for producing a number of records for stars like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand and Cher is currently producing Pempengco’s first international album. He has also taken the role of a mentor and a father figure.

“He is really nice and he’s a perfectionist,” Pempengco told The Times. “He wants my performances to be flawless. He wants my recordings to be great. The only thing that he doesn’t oversee is my fashion sense. That’s his girlfriend’s department. He is also quite funny so whenever I do recordings with him I never get stressed.”

But as young as she may be, Pempengco is not content on merely being a passenger of her trail-blazing career. She is slowly but surely taking the wheel. And for her upcoming album, she revealed her plans of shifting from a balladeer to something more current.

“The first single that I recorded, Fingerprint, falls more along the lines of R&B,” she told The Times. “It was written by Robbie Nevil who was behind Jordin Spark’s One Step at a Time and The Pussycat Dolls’ When I Grow Up. I hope that it becomes a hit. Personally, I think that it’s catchy and, lyrically, it’s for everyone.”

It also voices out Pempengco’s desire to break free from the typecasting that is slowly taking over her persona as an artist.

“For the album,” she told The Times, “I don’t want to have another Whitney Houston song. I don’t want people to hear my voice and say, ‘oh she’s the girl who sings Whitney Houston songs.’ I want them to know me for songs that are actually mine. I want to have my own identity as a performer.”

And as she said it with a serene sternness commendable for someone her age, one can tell that this “flush force of nature” will not be stopped from achieving her goals. It is true that at 16, she is too young for a lot of things. But as Pempengco found out the hard way, she is not too young to face life and everything that goes with it. And as she has proven from her time and time again, she is not too young to weather through them even with a voice that people thought was too big for someone her age.

By Angelo Cantera Reporter
Source link: Manila Times

Posted by cha_rade, submitted by bbelj

15 Responses to “Not too young for life”

  1. Old man in Europe says:

    Look at the list of recommended sites in the right column of this page. The last one now is to Phil Bolsta’s blog which gives a rather complete account of Charice’s career so far – including his interview with FalseVoice. It was added about a week ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. gravatar says:

    phil bolsta interview with falsevoice hope it will be posted here. its Charice origin.false voice need to built a site for Charice..

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  3. Partner says:

    Please watch in You Tube the following:

    (1) David Foster Interview with Van McNeil on 99.1 …
    This is regarding the time frame when her new album
    is going to happen.

    (2) David Spade on Charice “tough act to follow”
    David Spades described to David Letterman his personal
    experience performing after Charice at the Andre Agassi’s
    Benefit. He didn’t remember the name of Charice
    and thought that she’s a ten-year old girl. He’s funny.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Partner says:

    Please show the video of Charice too at the Paul O’Grady Show at the Featured Videos Section. It is one of her best performances too. I would also recommend to have her video at the HITMAN concert featured in this section.

    Thank you.

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  5. lou says:

    Totally agree with Peter, been following Charice for sometimes now and read before that she was born in 1993. Is it because that when she performed in Korea they adapt the chinese calendar? or her management decision? what ever it is – more power to her. The child with spectacular voice has arrived, for us to love her more and more.

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  6. monty says:

    I enjoy reading articles about Charice. I’m always excited to learn anything new about her. This is a good article from Manila Times.

    Is she still performing at the Celebrity Fight Night this weekend? I hope somebody will take some videos and upload them after the show.

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  7. peter says:

    this article is quite accurate. if you look at the paragraph where it says wildcard. it says charice was 12 in 2005. that was late 2005. that makes her only 15. before thay changed her birth year in her website from 1993 to 1992. the change was made in may of last year if you guys don’t know about it.

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  8. kasey says:

    This article is pretty similar to what Oprah Show’s producer wrote about Charice.Can you people at least write something new? inside scoop about my idol.

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  9. tonz says:

    For a time there, I actually thought there was something wrong with my computer. What with the absence of new comments, blogs or videos. That’s how I miss this girl. But, it looks like everything is okay again.
    Hopefully, her American handlers or whoever are close to her, will be kind enough to give us a running account of whatever is happening with her when she is in the states. Thank you.

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  10. weng says:

    i want to go home……

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  11. KUYA HUTCH says:

    Sa Magulong papalit-palit na desisyon ng kampo ni Pacquiao, sana isang bagay ang mabigyang linaw…on behalf sa mga supporters mo Charice ay taus puso kong itatanong…bunso ikaw nga ba ang kakanta ng ating pambansang awit sa labang Pacquiao-Hatton? Naway masagot mo ang katanungan kong ‘to, nangangawit na kasi kuya mo sa sobrang excitement eh…hehehehe Ingat!-KUYA HUTCH

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  12. divine says:

    I always following her news and carreer, I can not wait her album and new videos in this website or in your tube. Keep it up Charice I’m so proud of you. Always stay sweet as you are. Take care of your self and your Mom and brother. Love from TEXAS

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  13. FLTom says:

    David Foster is a fortunate man indeed to be in a position to not only mentor but also to be considered a father to the wonderful Charice. I believe he’s a man with enough maturity and wisdom to realize that he can provide something for her that can nourish and sustain her for the rest of her life. I hope a true family relationship develops between them.

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  14. justcharrie says:

    Love reading articles like this to fill up spaces and beat away loneliness while waiting for any new videos of our princess. I have to content myself re-reading great articles about Charice and watching old videos of Charice to keep my day exciting. Hopefully, a week from now fresh video will be available…hehe…

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  15. Max says:

    I appreciate GM and the Chasters finding and uploading videos like this that tell us even more about the character and personality of Charice. I especially appreciate when these articles are in English.

    It seems that information and fan blogging slow down when Charice is in America. Its a shame we can’t be updated more often when she is in America. However, the information is going to have to come from her American team. Our Filipino friends can only do so much when our princess is 8,000 miles away.

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